John 10:27 NKJV - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
In Jesus’ day most people easily understood the role of a shepherd with their sheep. In today’s world where most of us live in cities and bustle to and from work, school, and errands, we may not even think about farm animals and how that life really is. However, we have stories that help us understand and I have a couple from people I know who herd sheep.
The best news is the Shepherd knows His sheep. Jesus knows you inside and out. He knows what it will take for us to learn the right way to follow Him. He will not lead us astray and will be right there when we get lost.
Any good shepherd will have sheep that quickly learn he is there to protect them and help them. They will answer when they hear him and follow accordingly. However, they will not always do this correctly or as assuredly if the circumstances make things rough. For example, one shepherd had her sheep get stuck out in the field due to a freak snowstorm. They would not come down the field towards her so she trekked up to them. The more trusting of the herd started moving towards her before she got to them and then the rest fell into line. They went single file across the field in her path.
We are like the sheep and are at different levels of understanding and trust with God. There is nothing wrong with this because we all started out from the beginning. Some of us will be more willing to step out in the midst of turmoil towards the shepherd than others will. Peter was the only one that climbed out of the boat to walk on the water during a storm since Jesus said to come.
In following we learn how to emulate the shepherd. As our trust in Him grows, so does our willingness to try new things he reveals.
One of the shepherds I know was shocked to find her sheep emulating her one day. She plucks up milkweed she finds in the pasture so it won’t go to seed and take over. Sheep know not to eat it and will graze around it. On this one particular day she realized the sheep were following her around the field. As she watched they were biting off the milkweed and dropping it on the ground like she had been doing.
We should be like these sheep and doing our best to emulate our Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We should be like David, who was the shepherd of his father’s sheep growing up. Psalm 23, written by David, starts with, “The Lord is my shepherd…” He knew to trust God even when he went astray and came back due to correction.
Who is your shepherd? If Jesus is your shepherd, do you trust Him enough to follow through anything?